Commonly Used Lingo and Abbreviations for Pools

In Blog, Maintenance Tips by David Jerkins

Just like any industry, running a commercial pool comes with a lot of lingo, abbreviations and terms. What is CC, TA, “bicarb”, and others? Here’s a quick breakdown of some common terms you might hear thrown around the industry, their abbreviations or shorthand, plus a quick and basic definition. If you know the abbreviation and don’t know what it stands for, use CTRL+F on your keyboard (or whatever method you have on mobile to search a page) and enter in the abbreviation. This is not a total, exhaustive list of all possible terms, but a list of commonly misunderstood or unknown terms that should be known by anyone running an aquatics facility.

Alkalinity: “Total Alkalinity” or “TA” or “Alk” The measurement of carbonates and bicarbonates in the water.

Calcium Chloride: “Chloride” Used to increase calcium hardness.

Calcium Hardness: “CH” The measure of dissolved calcium in water.

Calcium Hypochlorite: “CalHypo” A dry chemical used to increase free chlorine in the water, usually in a tab or granular form.

Chemistry Controller: Usually just referred to as “The Controller” This controls equipment in the pump room to turn on and off. The “brains” of the operation.

Chlorine Generator Cell: “Cell” The cell is the part of the chlorine generator that is installed in the plumbing.

Combined Chlorine: “CC” The “used” disinfectant in the water and will off gas as chloramines, which causes the infamous “chlorine” smell and corrosion in pool facilities.

Cyanuric Acid: “CYA” A buffer for free chlorine. It helps protect it from the sun. Should only be used in outdoor pools at levels around 20-30 PPM.

FAS-DPD Test: The industry standard for testing, using a titration method. Common example would be a Taylor 2006c test kit.

Free Chlorine: “FC” The active disinfectant in the water. (Often referred to as just “chlorine” but this is a misnomer as the only chlorine that matters for disinfection is the “active” chlorine.)

Gallons per Minute: “GPM” A unit of measurement. Usually used when referring to the flow rate through the plumbing.

Langelier Saturation Index: “LSI” or “SI” or “LI” A method to determined how balanced water is.

Muriatic Acid: “MA” or “Acid” Used to lower pH

Parts per million: “ppm” A unit of measurement.

Power Supply: “PS” Often wrongly referred to as “controllers”, these just regulate power to equipment in the room, such as chlorine generators, UV systems, and much more.

Salinity: “Salt” or “SAL” For saltwater pools, how much salinity is in the water, usually measured in ppm.

Sodium Bicarbonate: “Baking soda” or “sodium bicarb” or just “bicarb” It is a common pool chemical used to balance the alkalinity of water. Typically, in powder form.

Sodium Carbonate: “Soda Ash” Used to raise pH

Sodium Hypochlorite: “Liquid Chlorine” “Bleach” Most common form of chlorine, added to the water.

Sodium Thiosulfate: “Thio” or “Chlorine neutralizer” Removes chlorine from the water.

Total Chlorine: “TC” This is just the combined and free chlorine together giving the “total” of all chlorine in the water.

Total Dissolved Solids: “TDS” A measure of everything that has dissolved in the water.

Ultraviolet System: “UV” Equipment that doses the water with Ultraviolet to reduce combined chlorine and inactivate viruses.

There will be a lot of lingo specific to your facility, usually dependent on whatever equipment you use. Take some time to learn it, it can be helpful when speaking with the manufacturers of that equipment.

Know of some pool lingo not included here? Let us know below in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!